If UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is done playing college football, he went out in style today: Hundley passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 161 yards and two more touchdowns, and led his team to a 42-12 Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
But it’s not clear yet if Hundley is done playing college football. Asked on CBS as he walked off the field whether he has made his decision about entering the 2014 NFL draft, Hundley said he isn’t sure if he’ll turn pro or return to school next year.
“I’m going to sit down and talk to the right people and I’ll make [a decision] from there,” Hundley said.
One of the tough things about being a 20-year-old NFL prospect is figuring out who “the right people” are. UCLA coaches may want him to stay in school for their own selfish reasons, while friends, family members or agents might want him to turn pro for selfish reasons. During the season, a report surfaced that Hundley wanted to enter the draft, but people around him were advising him not to.
One man’s opinion: Hundley should jump to the NFL now. Hundley has undeniable NFL talent, and although he could use some time to develop that talent, there’s no reason he can’t get paid while he develops in the NFL, instead of playing for free at UCLA. Furthermore, the 2015 NFL draft might turn out to be deeper at quarterback than the 2014 draft, with Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota likely to be the top two quarterbacks drafted in 2015. Even if Hundley has an even better season in 2014 than he had in 2013, there’s no guarantee that he’d be drafted any higher.
And there are significant risks to returning for another season, as former USC quarterback Matt Barkley found out the hard way: Barkley was viewed as a potential first-round pick when he eschewed the 2012 draft, but after struggling through a tough senior season, he ended up going in the fourth round in 2013.
So while Hundley doesn’t know yet what he’s going to do, there are very good reasons for him to jump to the NFL now.